Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

James Blood Ulmer: Free Lancing [Columbia, 1981]
Ulmer's conception is so audacious, so singular, that he can't cut a bad record--his most pro forma moments would make you sit up and notice ordinary jazz-rock. But despite his uncanny one-take double-track drone and the polyrhythmic facility of Amin Ali and Calvin Weston, I find the trio format thin here, and the three lyrics are trivial compared to "Are You Glad to Be in America?" and "Jazz Is the Teacher." Recommended to unbelievers and George Clinton: the hard, horny funk of "High Time." B+